BAE Systems has released its Social and Economic Impact report from 2023 which outlines the projects it invested in last year.

In 2023 BAE supported 76 projects, events and initiatives across priority areas related to the armed forces and their charitable organisations, education and skills, heritage and local community.

Events and initiatives last year included the Festival of Colours, the Love Barrow Awards and the Queen's Jubilee celebrations.

READ MORE: Barrow school thanks community after fundraising success

BAE's sponsorship of Barrow's Soapbox challenge also saw teams from local businesses, charities and community organisations race down a 320m course powered in homemade karts.

Paul Hodgson, Barrow Business Improvement District's project manager, said: "BAE Systems’ financial contribution ensured that this event was sustainable, including allowing us to invest in equipment for future use to grow the event year on year.

"It allowed Barrow BID to deliver the event using local suppliers for nearly all aspects, maximising the benefits to the local economy.

"The event attracted over 30,000 visitors to the town centre (based on footfall data), resulting in a huge financial boost for town centre businesses, and cementing this year’s Soapbox as the biggest event Barrow has ever seen."

(Image: BAE Systems) The BAE Systems footprint also extended into Portland Walk with the launch of the Careers Inspiration Hub.

The shared space will allow local organisations and third parties to take over the Hub to promote their career opportunities at a time it deemed critical for the regeneration of Barrow’s town centre.

As a key stakeholder in the ‘Town Deal’ partnership, BAE has also worked with local partners to develop a town investment plan, which it says has resulted in a successful application for £25m of government funding to improve the local area. 

The plan includes the creation of a £10.4m Barrow Learning Quarter, consisting of a new university campus and Community Resilience Hubs.

(Image: BAE Systems) BAE states these two projects will bring significant benefits to the most disadvantaged areas of the town and will benefit from £1 million in support from BAE Systems in total over the next three years.

The Learning Quarter will provide an integrated further education and higher education presence, with a focus on enhancing the employability of secondary school students and increasing their potential to go to university. 

Its aim is to not only enhance progression into higher education for local people but to also support the retention and attraction of talent to the area.

It will provide new jobs for Barrow both directly and indirectly, and additionally it will generate spend in the local economy.
The Community Resilience Hubs aims to provide opportunities for local people to develop skills, access services and come together to build thriving communities.

The report read: "The project will also support access to and use of digital technology, and address health inequalities across Barrow. A social enterprise project will be set up and delivered from the Hubs once these are in place.

"The challenges at Barrow require a long-term, evidence-based, collaborative and well-resourced response, but the initial indicators of the effectiveness of our involvement are really encouraging."

Other investments include the 150 Years Shipyard anniversary sculpture, image donation to the Dock Museum and The Nuclear Scholars programme.

To find out more about BAE's projects and investments in 2023, download the full report at BAE Systems website.